Tigers at Welford Rd. is acid Test for Perpignan

Perpignan made sure that Pool 5 remains wide open with a 24-19 home win over Leicester Tigers that means there is just a point separating the Tigers on 11 points with Perpignan and the Scarlets on 10 points.

But the Catalans accept that the cauldron of Welford Road – not to mention the Leicester pack – will really test their resurgence after some troubled times in the Top 14.

“This victory against Leicester allowed us to tighten the links within our group, especially after a series of defeats in the last couple of months in our domestic league,” said international hooker Guilhem Guirado.
“Two tries to one was a good performance seeing how tough the encounter was so we are very happy with this result.

“Our goal remains to make it through our Pool and since we only have one home game left at Aimé Giral, we will have to give everything we’ve got to get the maximum number of points we can on the road.

“Now we have to face them again on Sunday – I am told they have the best pack in England – and going to Welford Road will be different story.

“We will certainly receive one of their famous hostile welcomes, as we experienced two years ago, so we won’t be expecting anything less from their fans.

“Apart from blocking out the negative vibes from the crowd, the key for us to succeed would be to prevent them from winning too much ball and stop them getting momentum.

“Because we saw last Saturday, and two years ago, that when you allow them possession they are very dangerous. They will be even more dangerous at home because they will want to make amends for their away defeat.

“We will also have to pay attention to our discipline, too many penalties were awarded on Saturday and it is not acceptable, not to the standards you would expect for such a high-profile international game. We won’t get away with any point from Welford Road if we waste time and energy being penalised – not to mention the two yellow cards we were given.

“At this level conceding eight or nine penalties is the maximum tolerated if you expect to get something out of an away game. Unforced errors are the same, especially when they occur in your own territory. It is another aspect we need to be wary of and it is down to us to adapt.
“In my opinion their dangermen will be up front, in the scrum, Toby Flood and their wings – not to forget their impressive fans.

“However, if we manage to dominate them up front, our territory gain will be more significant and that’s where we can hope to lead the game. We’ve got to disrupt their game and not let them build up phases otherwise we know this is going to end up in them scoring tries and us under pressure.

“As for our other opponents in Pool 5 of the Heineken Cup, the Scarlets love to move the ball, their game plan is very expansive and they can strike from anywhere on the field. In Italy, we have the biggest respect for Benetton Treviso, their performances have improved massively over time and since we seem to always be in the same Pool we are well placed to judge their progression.

“Every year it gets tougher to play them, especially on their turf. Anyway, these days there are no smaller teams compared to the earlier years of the competition. All opponents are strong contenders.”

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